"Help," he said. "He's not breathing."
A tiny baby is rushed to hospital. Doctors suspect he was shaken by his father, who is later charged and convicted. The baby grows up in the care of his mother. Life goes on.
Twelve years later, Ethan is a singular young boy. Gifted with an innate affinity for physics and astronomy, Ethan sees the world in ways others simply can't - through a prism of light, time, stars and space.
Ethan is the centre of his mother's universe. Claire has tried to protect him from finding out what happened when he was a baby. But the older Ethan gets, the more questions he asks about his absent father.
A single handwritten letter is all it takes to set off a dramatic chain of events, pulling both parents back together again into Ethan's orbit. As the years seem to warp and bend, the past is both relived and revealed anew for each of them.
Relativity is an irresistible story about love, unbreakable bonds and irreversible acts.
Antonia Hayes, who grew up in Sydney and spent her twenties in Paris, lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. Relativity is her first novel.
Relativity is wonderful, a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel that I feel certain will find the huge audience it deserves. — S J Watson, author of BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP and SECOND LIFE
Original, compassionate, cleverly plotted, and genuinely difficult to put down. The premise is compelling and the plot twists and turns without ever feeling forced. This novel is an intelligent, honest and compassionate look at people and relationships under stress: the shocking revelation [in it] is tempered with real insight as to how such things happen. — Greeme Simsion, author of THE ROSIE PROJECT and THE ROSIE EFFECT
Relativity is a novel of assured and measured empathy, a story of familial love and familial hurt that is fair, honest and remarkably non-judgemental. Hayes is a convincing writer and a true storyteller: her characters are alive. — Christis Tsiolkas, author of THE SLAP
The race towards the conclusion keeps us guessing, but ultimately, it's the beautifully drawn characters who stay with you long after the final page. — Australian Women's Weekly
Relativity left even my cynical heart pounding . . . [many] writers could learn something from Hayes . . . wonderful and beyond inventive - if one of the precise pleasures of fiction is a glimpse at someone else's thought processes, this is indeed a marvel. — The Saturday Paper
Relativity is a transcendental book that manages to stay grounded and true in its warmth and pathos. With fully realised characters and a gripping storyline that unfolds into a carefully constructed equation of familial love, I could not put it down. — Alice Pung, author of UNPOLISHED GEM and LAURINDA
Pulls you into the moment like you've unexpectedly pin-dropped through Antarctic ice . . . Relativity upends expectations and holds you in its thrall as Hayes asks unsettling questions about the frailties of memory and love . . . An Australian debut not to be missed. — Readings Monthly
A charming and fresh debut placing a family's secrets in the great expanse of the universe. — Kirkus Reviews
Wrought with depth, emotion and intricately crafted language, this novel is captivating and heart-wrenching. A painful topic becomes the foundation for a beautiful story when written with such compassionate precision, leaving readers contemplating the depth of human forgiveness and the gravity that binds us together. — RT Book Reviews
With its thoughtful consideration of family dynamics and its strong thematic currents, Hayes's excellent debut will appeal to fans of JoJo Moyes — Publishers Weekly
With an ingenious premise, this cleverly plotted, well-executed novel, set in Australia, dramatically examines a family in extremis and contemplates how the past can poison the present with devastating effect until the antidote, love, appears — Booklist
An affecting, gripping debut novel about the nature of family and identity — Mail on Sunday
Hayes beautifully evokes the gulping, fear-filled love a vulnerable child imparts on its parents ... Ethan's believability is crucial for the novel's emotional effect, and he's convincingly drawn ... he comes alive in Hayes' tender hands. — The Big Issue
Set in Australia and merging science and emotions, the full story is revealed slowly and the writing is memorable. — Choice magazine
The beautiful storytelling unravels layer-by-layer to reveal the complexities surrounding Ethan and Claire's past, making it an absorbing read that will stay with you. — Independent